Monday, August 10, 2009

school prep & advocacy couture

shhhh - I'm not here.

I'm actually at a cafe, in the Cone of Silence, working. Except when I stop, and do paperwork for the boys. IHPs, allergy action plans, emailing (not begging. certainly not begging) for meetings with admin, teachers, People With Power, and occasionally, ogling lunchboxes.

(I don't have a proper, official lunchbox - is that a good enough excuse? mneh. Maybe not. Admission: I carry my lunches and snacks in a former wet diaper great for holding liquids.)

We're assembling lists of potential lunches for the Eldest's classmates, lists of snacks, medical kits, and researching our heinies off. Occasionally, we test out dairy-free, egg-free (etc) and gluten-free challah recipes, for the Toddles' preschool. Many thanks to a certain river, who offered a number of excellent suggestions, not to mention a really, really patient rabbit, who let the boys love her to the point of rabbit-terror. And possibly six or seventeen steps beyond.

And then there's the editing, due this past Monday. And the column, due alarmingly soon. Ack. And the garden bed that is, somehow, not quite built. Four of the boards were, oh, imperfectly cut by the friendly Home Despot guys. They gave me a free measuring tape, to my astonishment, but then cut the boards too long.

Which will teach me to use my brand-new measuring tape next time. Smiling the apologetic, harmless/semi-hapless female smile as I do it, because somehow, that seems to suit what the Despot lumber guys expect of me. (The folks in the garden section, however, use a very different paradigm. Hm.)

Paradigms are exactly the major topic of discussion around here, as the Man participates in school prep for the first time. We're talking about what the teachers want to see, what builds confidence, and the many, many ways that we think we could screw up. Honestly, I can't quite shake the certainty that we will - that I will. Because, of course, we're trailing the albatross of last year's preschool behind us.

Okay, mostly behind me.

It's funny how one trip to the Despot can get a mama thinking. The moment I stepped into the construction materials section, I realized that I was carrying the solitary pair of ovaries - and was treated accordingly. Kindly, and with a degree of amusement, and I happily played the role I was assigned. And then went home, thinking. Oh, yes, I'm focussing furiously on looking ahead - no pillars of salt here, thank you. But I can't help shuffling through the flip-deck of paradigms for school prep season: the alarmingly competent mom, the earnest mom, the wry mom, the medico-mom, and oh, I hope not, the martyr mom. I'll shuffle through many of these as I write and talk over the next few weeks. And occasionally, I'll flip off the albatross, dipping into silliness (and rabbits) to leaven the paperwork, the editing and the column.

Which means that I'm punchy and flibberty enough to be considering couture:

which of these (this, that or the other) should I choose for that first meeting with the teachers? for the Eldest's school? for the Toddles? Something that inspires a comfortable relationship, fitting with a sense of relaxed, engaged teamwork, but that says just enough about authority for the teachers to listen when I tell them something beyond their philosophy, o Horatio.

Help! my wardrobe genius moved to Philly, and the Eldest isn't playing style guru this month. What would you wear?

hat tip for finding the funny shirts....thanks!


Jen said...

Regarding the t-shirt question: none of them. You need this one.

BTW, competent women really, really hate the "play up the ditz at Home Depot" thing. Cuz it makes us look butch. Good luck getting the rest of it built: next time, buy the lumber and buy or borrow a saw. It'll be more satisfying AND you'll only have to go to HD once.

Gillis said...

I have been coveting that lunch box as many containers!
Also this one:
It was nice to meet you and your boys yesterday, though I wish I hadn't had to leave quite so quickly...perhaps I will see you three again soon!

Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...

or this one:

I'm with you: it's idiotic that a competent woman is butch when she's building something, or fixing it.

Ridiculous. And yet, I have to admit that the hapless female role is not only easy to fall into, it's useful: I really am pretty hapless when it comes to building and fixing. But I'm willing to try, and definitely want to learn. By admitting my ignorance, I get popped into the hapless piegonhole by the HD guys, who then happily explain things. Demonstrate things, ignore other customers and haul me to various aisles and show me things.

They might do this for someone who was marginally competent, let alone someone who actually knew what they were doing - I don't know.

I'll work on the pigeonhole. Can I persuade you to show me how to use that saw?

Anonymous said...

Did I tell you about the time that the Despot wouldn't come to give me an estimate on cabinets without my husband present? (Yeah, needless to say we went with someone else)

Or, about the time the local (walkable) hardware store clerk said to me (incredulously and condescendingly) as I paid for the stuff to patch the hole in the bathroom wall wear the towel bar used to be, "are you going to be doing this yourself?"

And, I might add, it is impossible to tell where said wall was patched. Harrumph!

-Rachel L

joy said...

Don't get me started on the Despot guys who tried to tell me I was after the wrong wall-repair supply when I gave them the exact name of the product and even proved it by calling my dear husband in front of them. Still they tried to convince me I should be buying something else. ARRRGH!

Anyway, I digress.
Either of these shirts seem apropos:


Zina said...

Skip the shirts and just go straight to the tatoo.

What would send a message, wouldn't it?